Adult Education

Looking to grow in your faith, knowledge of Judaism, and/or learn Hebrew?
Bet Shalom offers a wide range and variety of education opportunities!

Judaism 101 | Sundays at 10:30 AM

Judaism 101 is an introduction to the basics of Judaism and its history, customs, traditions, and philosophy. This course provides a broad overview and is for those interested in, or new to, Judaism, or anyone seeking to renew or enhance their Jewish knowledge.  For some, it is a partial fulfillment of the requirements of our conversion program and adult Bar/Bat Mitzvah program. This course provides an opportunity to explore many of the questions we have about Judaism, the Jewish people, and the Jewish way of life. Registration required here

Class meets 10:00-11:30 am, one Sunday each month from September-April; May-August classes meet on one Tuesday evening each month from 5:30-7:00 pm. 

To register CLICK HERE

Judaism 101 Syllabus 2019-2020

September 22 – Who Is a Jew?
October 27 – Jewish History
November 24 – Jewish Literature
December – no class

January 26 – Prayer
February 23 – Holidays
March 22 – Jewish Life Cycle
April 26 – Holocaust
May 19 – 5:30-7 p.m. – Gender in Judaism
June 16: 5:30-7 p.m. – Israel
July 14, 5:30-7 p.m. – American Judaism
August 25, 5:30-7 p.m. – Ask the Rabbi, Ask the Cantor

Hebrew Classes | Sunday Mornings - Registration Required

Adult Hebrew is taught by Dr. Nick Schaser, a visiting Assistant Professor in Religious Studies at Macalester College. Dr. Schaser has taught Adult Hebrew at Bet Shalom for several years and occasionally has offered courses on individual Biblical Books. He earned his Ph.D in Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt University.

Intermediate: Students have the ability to decode and are looking to increase fluency and basic vocabulary: 9:00-9:45 am

Register Here.

Introduction to decoding and basic reading – no skills necessary: 9:45-10:30 am.

A minimum of 10 registered students required for this course.
Register Here.

Torah through the Hasidic Masters | Saturdays, 9 am, beginning Oct. 5, 2019

Explore the teachings of the S’fat Emet (the pseudonym of the Hasidic Rabbi Yehudah Aryeh Leib Alter, 1847-1905) on the weekly Torah portion, in which he wrestles with timeless issues in the text.

Rabbi Locketz, Rabbi Crimmings and Cantor Schwartz will be joined by Rabbi David Thomas in facilitating this weekly session. Rabbi Thomas is a Senior Rabbinic Fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute and has been a board member for the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR). He is deeply involved in social action initiatives. He recently moved to Minneapolis to be near family upon retirement from being Senior Rabbi of Congregation Beth El in Sudbury Valley, Mass. Bagels and coffee will be served.

The first Saturday of each month will be led by Rabbi David Thomas.

Weekly Torah Study

Have you ever wondered what is contained in the rest of the Tanach, our Hebrew Bible? Our weekly “Beyond Torah Study” session focuses on what comes after the Five Books of Moses comprised of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Join fellow Bet Shalom members to study the rest of the story together.

Currently reading the Book of Ezekiel, this community of learners studies Biblical themes, history, content, and context. No experience is necessary, and you are welcome to join the group at any time.

Weekly Torah Portion/Parashat Hashavua: Join Rabbi Locketz, Rabbi Crimmings, Cantor Schwartz and fellow Bet Shalomians each week to discuss the weekly Torah portion. Everyone is welcome, and no experience is required. All texts are studied in English. You are welcome to bring your lunch.

Parenting Series | Sundays and Wednesdays

Our Parenting Series is an opportunity for parents to discuss issues relevant to raising children today. We will learn from professionals in the field and also explore relevant connections to Jewish teaching. Sessions alternate between Sundays and Wednesdays.

Sunday Oct. 6, 10:30 am — Oys and Joys of Technology, Creating a Family Media Plan, led by the Jewish Family and Children’s Bureau (JFCS).

Sunday, Nov. 3, 10:30 am —  Christmas and Chanukah: The December Dilemma, led by Rabbi Crimmings

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 7:30 pm —  College Tours and Jewish Life on Campus, led by staff from Minnesota Hillel

Sunday, Jan. 12 (2020), 10:30 am — How to tell if your child needs therapy, led by the Jewish Family and Children’s Bureau (JFCS).

Wednesday, Feb. 19, 7:30 pm — Talking about Anti-Semitism with your child, led by staff from the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC)

Wednesday, March 18, 7:30 pm —  How to tell if your child needs therapy, led by the Jewish Family and Children’s Bureau (JFCS).

Wednesday, April 15, 7:30 pm —  Talking about Gun Violence with your child, facilitator TBD

Rabbi Norman Cohen: Scholar-in-Residence

Rabbi Norman Cohen, Bet Shalom’s founding Rabbi and Rabbi Emeritus, is our scholar in residence. He will speak on a number of topics and will be available to sign his book, Sacred Architecture: The Building of Bet Shalom, which is a gift from him to every member household in our congregation.

Friday, Nov. 8  

5:30-6:00pm: Kabbalat Panim/Reception 

6:00-7:00pm: Shabbat Service, during which Rabbi Cohen will give a sermon onJudaism & Christianity: Two Different Paths to
the Same God

7:00-7:45pm: Catered Shabbat Dinner (registration required here)

7:45-8:30pm: Desert and interactive study on, “The Stereotypes & Misconceptions Christians and Jews Have About Each Other

8:30pm: Book Signing 

Saturday, Nov. 9  

10:00am: Shabbat Morning Service with sermon “What Are Nice Jewish Boys Like Abraham and Moses Doing in a Book Like the New Testament?”

Following services there will be a Lunch & Learn with a text study on “A Jewish Approach to the New Testament – Text Study,” followed by a book signing.

Sunday, Nov. 10  

9:00-9:30am: Religious School Assembly geared toward young people

9:30am: Scheduled private book signing & catch up opportunities in Rabbi Cohen’s  study at Bet Shalom.  

The Zionist Revolution and the Road to Establishing the State of Israel in 1948: Professor Arie Zmora

In what ways did religious and racial Anti-Semitism in Europe and in Muslim Lands trigger the rise of the Zionist Movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries?

What were the seeds of the conflict between Jews and Arabs in Eretz Israel/ Palestine? How, against all odds, did the smaller, ill-equipped, forces of the Yishuv (the Jewish community of pre state-Israel) prevail against the much larger forces of Arab countries in Israel’s War of Independence in 1948?

In view of recent inflammatory comments challenging the loyalty of American Jewish citizens   we will explore the place of the land of Israel in Jewish tradition over the centuries.

These are some of the exciting topics we will pursue and will show their relevancy to today’s discourse on Zionism and our lives.

Sundays, 10:30-11:30 am

October 13
October 27
November 3
November 10
November 17
December 1
December 8
December 15

Some topics for our discourse on Zionism:

-After praying for the Messiah for redemption for nearly 2,000 years, why did Jews become politically active to gain independence in their ancestral homeland?

-How and why did Zionism take hold in Tsarist Russia, Europe’s most backward country?

-What was Theodore Herzl’s role in founding political Zionism?

-How was Hebrew revived from being the language of prayer to being a living language?

-What circumstances lead to the Balfour Declaration in 1917?

-How, under the British Mandate, did the Zionists created a civil society and the foundation for a vibrant democratic republic of Israel?

-Why are David ben Gurion and Chaim Weitzman considered leaders of the Zionist movement?

-What were Arab/Jewish relationships like in Palestine/Eretz Israel before and after Israel declared its independence in 1948?

-What is the historical significance of Israel’s Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948, and what happened that day?

The cost for this eight-week course has been generously subsidized by a family in our community. We ask that each participant consider a $100 donation to Bet Shalom when registering here.